Medieval Matters: Week 1

Michaelmas term has officially begun! Oxford is looking beautiful in the October sun, the libraries are once again full, and our programme of events is now fully underway. To mark the start of term, here is some advice chosen specially for our new MSt students:

Magistris adsidete, aperite libros, perspicite litteras, intellegite sensus illarum!
[Sit with your teachers, open your books, study the text, understand its meaning! Ep. 27]

Of course, this advice does not only apply to those on taught degree courses. Being a researcher does not proclude anybody from sitting and studying together, and in fact our many seminars and reading groups are an excellent place to do just that. To help you navigate them all, I have attached a pdf version of this term’s Medieval Booklet to this week’s email for your convenience. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to it: I know I speak for all of us when I say that I am excited for all of the many medieval things in store for us!

One particular event to draw your attention to this week: we at the OMS team invite you to the Medievalist Coffee Morning this Friday, 10:30-11.30am for a Mini Medieval Roadshow. If you don’t know where this takes place, check the Friday announcements below. This is a great chance to meet your OMS team for this year (including some brand new faces!), advertise your seminar / reading group, or just enjoy some free coffee and biscuits. We’d love to see you there. On to the announcements for this week:


  • Call for Participants: Song and lyric workshop with Ardis Butterfield, 3rd November, 3–5pm: Ardis Butterfield will be visiting Oxford this term and not only give the OMS Michaelmas Lecture on 31 October but has also kindly agreed to take part in a workshop on medieval lyric and song. This will take place in Lecture Room 4, New College on 3rd November, 3–5pm. We are looking for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers who are working on a medieval song or lyric text that they would like to discuss in the workshop with Professor Butterfield. All that is required is to provide an edition of the text of the song or lyric, ideally with a translation and edition of the music (if there is any). The workshop will be an informal opportunity to workshop songs/lyric texts together and benefit from Professor Butterfield’s expertise. If you would like to contribute a song/lyric, please send your suggestion to <> by Friday 14th October. You are very welcome to attend the workshop without bringing along a text to discuss. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to <> by Friday 28th October for catering purposes.


Monday 10th October:

  • The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College and on Teams (Teams link here). This week’s speaker will be John Watts  (Corpus), ‘Political Economy and the Wars of the Roses’. The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email:
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.30-7.30pm. Please email Ashley Castelino ( to be added to the mailing list.

Tuesday 11th October:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Nicola McDonald (York), ‘Doing Justice: Who Read Middle English Romance and Why Does it Matter?’. The paper will be followed by lunch with the speaker. All welcome!
  • GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Harold Wilson Room, Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Aristotle, Poetics. All welcome to attend any and all sessions. For more details and specific readings each week, or to be added to the mailing list, email or
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford ( Presentations begin at 5.15pm. This week’s seminar will be a doctoral student research showcase. For more information and to be added on the seminar’s mailing list, contact 
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar takes place at 5pm at Charles Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. The theme for this term is ‘Women’. This week’s speaker will be Luisa Ostacchini (Exeter): The World of the ‘Old English Martyrology’: Carthage and the case of St Perpetua’s sword. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.

Wednesday 12th October:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for an organising session on ‘Dietrichs Flucht’ at 11:15am in Somerville College – ask at the Lodge for directions. If you want to be added to the mailing list for this term’s seminar, please email
  • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets on Teams at 4-5pm. We are currently focusing on medieval documents from New College’s archive as part of the cataloguing work being carried out there, so there will be a variety of hands, dates and types. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Contact Michael Stansfield ( for further details and the Teams link.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles. This week’s speaker will be Claudia Rapp (Vienna), The Oxford conundrum: Cyril Mango and Byzantine elitism, or: what about popular culture?.

Thursday 13th October:

  • The Invisible East Lecture takes place at 5pm online. The speaker will be Reza Huseini, A Day in Late Antique Bactria. Register for the webinar here; the lecture is in Persian.
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.15pm via Zoom and at the Council Chamber, National Library of Wales. This week’s speaker will be Imanol Larrea Mendizabal (Soziolinguistika Klusterra), The Etxepare Basque Institute Alan R. King Professor in Residence: “Hizkuntza ohiturak aldatzeko ikerketa soziolinguisikoa Euskal Herrian: hainbat esperientzia” (Ymchwil Sosioieithyddol a newid arferion iaith: profiad Gwlad y Basg). Please note that this is a Basque language seminar with translation into Welsh. Please contact if you need a link.

Friday 14th October:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!). This week will be a Mini Medieval Roadshow: please do come along to meet the team and to advertise your events / seminars! There will be manuscripts on show!
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at St Hilda’s College, in the Julia Mann Room. This week, please meet at the lodge and arrange swipe-card access. The text will be extracts from the Chronicle of Langtoft; pdf will be provided. For access to the text and further information, please email: or


  • CFP: The Schoenberg Symposium this year is on the theme of TRANSLATING SCIENCE, and we are seeking proposals for 5 minute lightning talks to be posted to YouTube as part of the event. Translating Science considers the networks of exchange, transmission, and translation of natural knowledge evident in manuscript culture in the pre- and early modern periods. We will examine in particular the role of the manuscript book in the translation of natural knowledge across linguistic, regional, disciplinary, and epistemic boundaries. Proposals should be relevant to the theme of TRANSLATING SCIENCE and must be 5 minutes long or shorter. The deadline for submitting proposals for a lightning talk is Friday, October 14: submit your proposals using this form: Lightning talk submission form. Applicants will be notified by October 21. Videos must be submitted to SIMS by November 7. For more information see the Symposium page or email

Finally, some advice for this week from Alcuin:

Videte librorum thesaura; considerate ecclesiarum decorem, aedificiorum pulchritudinem

[“Look at the treasures of your library, the beauty of your churches, the fairness of your buildings!, Ep. 27]

I take this to mean: enjoy how beautiful Oxford looks in the autumn sun! May you all have an enjoyable week appreciating the treasures of our libraries, communities and seminars.

[A Medievalist looking at the Medieval Booklet to work out which treasures of Oxford’s medieval offerings to attend this week]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 65 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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